Settlers destroy forests, silt rivers

Zanu (PF) supporters resettled as A1 farmers in Vumba and Burma Valley areas have been accused of destroying indigenous and exotic forests.

Facing destruction: Vumba forests.
Facing destruction: Vumba forests.

Owners of private properties have complained that resettled A1 farmers are hunting wild animals and destroying the forests that have been a tourist attraction for years.

John Maengamhuru, who grows flowers and operates an indigenous tree sanctuary, said the destruction of natural environment had been aggravated by the Zanu (PF) supporters resettled as A1 farmers.

He said they were allegedly indiscriminately cultivating on mountain slopes, water channels and riverbeds – threatening productive farming in the area and enhancing siltation of two major rivers, Nyamakari and Nyamataka, whose water is harnessed to irrigate the rich loam soils.

“We cannot do any farming here. The rivers have been silted. I think efforts to have the illegal settlers removed seem to be hitting a brick wall as we now fully understand that there are political forces behind this,” said horticulturalist Admire Mazaretu.

Tourism operators and farmers said it was imperative that the responsible ministries and authorities join hands to tackle the issue. “If the practice is left to continue for two seasons or more, the whole of Vumba and other areas down there like Burma Valley will become a desert and destroy all the farming infrastructures in place,” said Peter Magosvogwe, a strawberry producer.

The Environmental Management Agency Provincial Environmental Officer, Kingston Chitotombe said the agency was aware of the Problem.

“We are working with Local government, the police and other key ministries in order to control the situation,” he said

“We have given the resettled farmers eviction notices and they have agreed to vacate the area soon after they have harvested their crops. If they fail to do that we will have to act through the courts.”

Post published in: Environment
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